Right now, one in six employees are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or stress and the cost to the Wales and UK economy is well documented. At Time to Change Wales we believe that all employers, regardless of size or sector, needs to prioritise mental health and wellbeing among staff to be fully productive and be ‘mentally healthy’.
Since 2013 the campaign has been engaging with employers from across all sectors and has focused our work to engage with local health boards and local authorities. Since we launched our organisational pledge in October 2013 over 50 organisations have stepped up and shown their commitment and are taking the first steps to address workplace mental health stigma and discrimination. We understand that this is a pledge and that some organisations will be faster adopters and other may need gentle encouragement to complete their actions. Indeed before every firm pledges they are required to complete an action plan to demonstrate what practical steps they will implement over the coming months and years. They are supported by the TTCW staff team in developing the action plan and invited to our quarterly pledged network meetings to share best practice and keep up to date on campaign developments.
One of our pledged employers (Carmarthenshire County Council) recently updated TTCW on their activity over the past 12 months and this included:
- TTCW Information placed on staff intranet
- Time to talk activity across estate in February 2016
- TTCW Information and leaflets shared with all staff locations (and externally at libraries etc)
- Ensuring that TTCW messaging appears in the monthly council newsletter
- Face to face training on mental health awareness and managing sickness absence related to mental health available
- Mandatory E-learning module on mental health awareness designed for all people managers to complete and available for all other employees if required.
Cindy Evans (Occupational Health manager) for Carmarthenshire Council says ‘’We have found that managers are more aware now that mental ill health should be dealt with in the same way as physical ill health from a sickness absence point of view, through giving support and putting reasonable adjustments in place to aid their return to work. Also the managers seem to have more confidence now in supporting the employees with their mental health problems.’’
Chief Executive of Council adds ‘’I am pleased to say we are seen to be raising the awareness of the Time to Change campaign in the Authority and in the community since the signing of our organisational pledge in July 2015. We aim to continue to raise the profile of the campaign in the future.’’
Addressing workplace stigma and discrimination is a long process and one that TTCW understands will not be completed in even a few years, this is cultural and organisational change. Getting organisation across Wales to step up and sign the pledge is the first step, we can`t promise miracles but working in partnership and raising awareness around the issues must be the first steps.
Find out more at: http://www.timetochangewales.org.uk/en/your-organisation/5-step-plan/
If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org